Getting Deep, Rich, Saturated, Color
I used slide film almost exclusively before digital came along and I always tried for deep, rich, saturated color. It didn’t leave much room for exposure error, but I quickly learned that underexposing by a quarter to half stop would give richer colors. The digital process is more forgiving, so I usually shoot 2/3 stop under the camera’s calculated exposure. Note that I said “usually.” As discussed in the Goldilocks Exposure post, photographs in snow would be truly dismal if underexposed, so I would overexpose by about 2/3 stop in a snowscape to keep the white stuff white.
The example exposures were made (from left to right) at 0, -0.3, and -0.7. To my eye the differences show up most in the darker parts of the lake and in the yellow kayak. If your screen calibration is approximately correct (more on that topic later), you will probably prefer the rich saturated color of the most “underexposed” one on the right. If that’s the case then consider setting your own compensation dial to underexpose a little bit. I’d suggest trying -0.3 and -0.7 and then choose based on your preferences for how strong you want your rich, saturated color to be.
Another Route to Deep, Saturated Color
Read the post dealing with Circular Polarizers to learn about deeply blue skies, fully colored vegetation, and controlling unwanted, color-robbing reflections.
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